LITTLE ROCK – The ACLU of Arkansas issued the following statement about the Ten Commandments monument that has been erected on the grounds of the Arkansas State Capitol.
“Religious liberty is the right of every American to worship – or not to worship – and follow their conscience freely, without government bureaucrats butting in,” said Rita Sklar, ACLU of Arkansas Executive Director. “When government officials endorse one set of religious beliefs over another, they alienate those who don’t subscribe to that particular set of beliefs and undermine everyone’s religious freedom. Arkansas politicians are once again exploiting their position of authority to promote their personal religious agenda – and trampling on Arkansans' fundamental rights. We will see them in court.”
The U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly affirmed that government displays of the Ten Commandments violate the Constitution.
In striking down the display of display of the Ten Commandments in two Kentucky courthouses in 2005, Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, appointed by Republican president Ronald Regan, wrote: “When the government associates one set of religious beliefs with the state and identifies nonadherents as outsiders, it encroaches upon the individual's decision about whether and how to worship. Allowing government to be a potential mouthpiece for competing religious ideas risks the sort of division that might easily spill over into suppression of rival beliefs.”